Controlled fertilizer injection systems, probes for measuring underground humidity, underground irrigation and solar pumping installations, among others, will be presented
The Sant Miquel Agricultural Fair and the Eurofruit show, a fair that will take place from 24th to 27th September, will offer a wide range of services and novelties related to irrigation. The controlled injection of fertilizer (nitrogen) from slurry in irrigation, probes to measure underground humidity, underground drip irrigation, solar pumping – all systems belonging to the orbit of precision agriculture – will be some of the protagonists of this year’s edition of Sant Miquel and Eurofruit. The irrigation sector will be represented at the event by various specialised companies, including R.S. Agrotécnica del Segrià, Ongrub Medi Ambient and Hidromatic Ponent, SL.
Irrigation is an area of agriculture that is becoming increasingly professionalised, and which has benefited in recent years from two major generic advances, technification and the implementation of energy efficiency. The sector has undergone an evident transformation, stronger in large farms, which are often the object of important investments, and slower in small and medium-sized farms, where obsolete equipment and the obstacle of generational change make modernization difficult.
Hidromatic de Ponent will present a programme for injecting slurry into fruit farms (previously developed for cereals), developed jointly with the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food, which, by adapting to the new regulations, makes it possible to replace the traditional method of randomly applying this organic waste with a precision method. Thus, through a conductometer, it is possible to calculate exactly the fertilizer value of the slurry in nitrogen and therefore the exact amount applied in each irrigation operation, avoiding the excess or lack of fertilizer (we are no longer talking about liters of water with slurry applied, but about kilos of nitrogen introduced). Normally it is applied through sprinkler irrigation, although tests are now being carried out with the drip system.
The company will also present an air injection system in reservoirs to oxygenate the water and prevent eutrophication (a process of pollution caused mainly by lack of oxygen and excess nutrients in the water, with the consequent massive proliferation of algae, accumulation of sludge, etc.).
For its part, the firm Ongrub Medi Ambient will present in Sant Miquel – Eurofruit systems for remote control of irrigation through various products (via radio, single cable or GPRS) and using a personal computer. Through a link with a PC, it is possible to have specific information about the system (history, incidents, irrigation situation, etc.) and to modify parameters, programs, etc. These systems are adapted to the different needs of users (whether they are irrigation communities, farms or parks and gardens) and for all types of irrigation (drip, sprinkler, underground, etc.).
Ongrub also works in the field of solar pumping systems applied to farm irrigation and has already installed about 200 hectares.
R.S. Agrotécnica del Segrià will present a wide variety of energy efficiency and automation systems applied to irrigation. As a novelty, the probes to measure the humidity, which register the availability of water in the subsoil and the facility of the plant to absorb it, and consequently allow to know how much and when it is necessary to irrigate, stand out. The records can also be consulted from the mobile phone with a specific application. Obviously, these are systems that also seek efficiency in water consumption, since they allow the application of the amount strictly necessary for the plant.
These devices allow to adjust the exact dose of water needed by the plant, considering that a deficiency may hinder the growth of the plant (and of the fruit or seed), but an excess may harm it since it drags the nutrients and affects the organoleptic quality of the product.
The company also offers “practical, efficient and competitive” solar pumping installations suitable for all types of farms, from large holdings to small orchards.
Solar pumping is a system that seeks efficiency by extracting or pushing water to a given place with photovoltaic solar energy – thanks to the use of solar panels and a converter that allows the energy captured by the panels to be used -, replacing the traditional supply through the electricity grid or with diesel generators, with its corresponding economic cost in electricity or fuel.
With regard to underground drip irrigation, it has the advantage that it requires less pressure (approximately half) than sprinkler irrigation, saves energy and water (as it has fewer losses), does not hinder machines working on the surface and cannot be damaged by the action of animals. At the same time, however, it has a higher cost of installation, a longer life span, it is complicated to detect breakdowns, it is not feasible for all types of land and it requires a more superficial cultivation, as the pipes are buried at a shallow depth.
The 66th edition of the Sant Miquel Agricultural Fair and the 35th edition of the Eurofruit fair will take place from 24th to 27th September in the Lleida exhibition centre.